Amid the clamor of advisers and the fog of hard calls, some basic requirements remain
“I’m an intuitive person,” says the candidate, photographed at Trump Tower on July 11

The suite is quiet—oddly so, given its occupant’s seismic effect on the life of the nation beyond Fifth Avenue. And yet there is a pervasive hush here on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan, even in the corner office, where the tycoon turned Republican nominee sits at a cluttered desk. Vintage magazine covers featuring his image decorate the walls—Trump on Fortune, Trump on BusinessWeek, Trump on GQ, Trump on Playboy—while sports trophies (he’s about a 4 handicap on the golf course) are casually arranged on the windowsills. The only outward sign of what he has wrought: a modest stack of bumper stickers and a single red MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN cap on the desk.

This late-spring morning, in a wide-ranging conversation with TIME, the subject is presidential literacy: What does a President need to know in order to, well, Make America Great Again? How does a candidate prepare to take up the virtually unimaginable burdens of the office? What kind of temperament is required to lead the nation in the first decades of the 21st century? Hearing the questions, Trump is polite but prefers to talk tactics. “I have a number of advantages over somebody else, even a traditional candidate,” he says. “Number one, I seem to get an inordinate amount of coverage. For whatever reason, I can’t even really define why. You turn on CNN, it’s all Trump all the time. It’s crazy. You watch all the networks, that’s the way it is.”

Coverage, however, does not necessarily translate into clarity. A startlingly successful vote getter who just engineered a takeover of the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan, Trump nevertheless lacks traditional presidential credentials. How then to gauge what Trump knows and might do? “I’ve always rated experience far less than capability,” he says, arguing that from Benghazi to her emails, Hillary Clinton’s years in the arena demonstrate a pattern of bad judgment. “When people ask me would you rather have experience or talent, I’ll take talent every time. That’s not to knock experience, and I think I have both.” And he rejects the idea that he’s a political novice. “It’s not like I’ve not been in politics, but just not on this

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